I'm not sure how to say exactly what I was expecting without coming across like an idiot, so let me just offer hints by giving some quotes from others about Russell. "All Aretha-esque soul-sass and stunning vox," one magazine has written. She sings, a noted DJ has said, "as if she was a gospel singer from the 70's." Another observer has praised her "gospel conviction through tear-stained soul, jazzy smoulders and blaxploitation struts."
All of that accurately reflects the picture that had formed in my head of Alice Russell.
The picture looked nothing at all like this:
But of course that's her. She's English. And if you go to her web site, the greeting is: "Welcome to my lovely new site, thanks a munka munka million for coming to visit!"
A munka munka million?
Anyway, none of which should make any difference, of course: I either like her singing or I don't. And I do, I still do, although if I'm really honest, it's possible I don't like it as munka munka much as I did before, when I had a very different image of her in my head. My suspicion is that the-image-in-the-head affects listening pleasure a lot more than it rationally should. Or maybe this reflects some stupid form of authentic snobbery that it is unique to me. But I can't deny it -- not if I want to, you know, keep it real.
"Hands of My Love," by Quantic Soul Orchestra and Alice Russell
"Transcend Me," by The Bamboos, featuring Alice Russell